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  • Pauline Schloesser

Online Yoga During Covid--Props and More

If you've been coming to live classes in an Iyengar yoga studio, you may not feel ready to join online classes. This post is about what you need to get started.


1. A small area with clear floor and wall space. We called our studio "Alcove Yoga" because our studio is a small sanctuary, set off from the street. And the thought was, provide a small, sacred space with all the props anyone would need. Now you can make your own protected space, your own alcove. A 4' x 8' floor area with a wall is plenty of space.


2. A laptop, computer, or tablet inclusive of camera. Get Zoom video conferencing software installed. Don't worry, installation is easy and only takes a few seconds.


3. A Few Yoga Props:


The most handy item for your yoga practice is a metal folding chair with the back taken out. A yoga chair is not just for sitting. It's helpful for standing postures, when hamstrings are tight and you need to bend forward from the hip. It's great for seated twists, back extensions, and even inversions. If you don't want to make one yourself, we've got them for sale at $40 plus tax, available for pick up.


A Bolster (or two) is also very important. Bolsters are great for seated and supine postures. I use these in my studio, but they're on the larger side. If you're on the smaller side, try these instead. If you can afford it, get two. There's a whole world of postures out there with crossed bolsters.


Yoga Blankets are also very important. They are essential for shoulder stand. Yoga Blankets can be used in place of a bolster in many cases. But if you're deciding to have blankets instead of a bolster, you'll need at least 5 good ones. Ideally, blankets should be tightly woven and made of cotton, without fringes, from Pune, India. Most studios in the US use Mexican blankets, which are easier to access and less expensive. The best size is 60" x 80". These look good to me.


Blocks are great to have. If you get them, get two! Blocks are frequently used for putting underneath the hands in standing postures where the hands touch and press on the floor. The blocks "raise the floor" in case you're too tight to keep your legs straight. You may be thinking, why not just bend my knees? The answer is that you want to open up your tight hamstrings, and bending the knees simply won't do that for you. Get wooden or cork blocks. Many foam blocks are not stable enough for standing postures. There are many uses for blocks, so get them.


One or two yoga belts are really helpful. You know all those poses that require grabbing the big toe? Aside from hamstring tightness, connecting your hand to the foot by way of a yoga belt leaves more space for the trunk. You can also use belts to tie the legs together or to connect your hands together behind your back in Gomukhasana (one arm up, one arm down, elbows bent behidn the back). Yes, it's true you can use your belt from your bathrobe; you can even use a stretchy theraband. But the best belts are yoga belts from Pune. They are cotton, with very lightweight-but-sturdy stainless steel buckles.


Last but not least, you need a mat. You may already have one, but the best mats for yoga are the True Blue mats, which are made in Germany. You can get them in 2mm or 4mm thickness from New Jersey.


Now that you know what you need, are you ready to sign up for class? Please visit us at www.alcoveyoga.com.

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